Nick Cordero Remembered as "One of the Great Ones" by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal

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Robert De Niro (left) and Nick Cordero

The duo praises their star of Broadway's 'A Bronx Tale,' who died July 5 of COVID-19 complications at age 41: "We were just blown away by how beautiful his voice was."

Nick Cordero, a Tony-nominated Broadway actor, died July 5 of COVID-19 complications at age 41. He last appeared on the Great White Way in 2018 as gangster Sonny in A Bronx Tale, a musical adaptation of the 1993 film that Robert De Niro had directed and, with Jane Rosenthal, produced. De Niro and Rosenthal were behind the stage version, as well, with De Niro co-directing and, with Rosenthal, producing. They shared their memories of Cordero with The Hollywood Reporter.

We first met Nick when [De Niro's co-director] Jerry Zaks invited him to come in and sing, and we were just blown away by how beautiful his voice was and how much his physical presence and magnetism felt like Sonny's. And, after we cast him, he just got better and better — he was perfect, and such a lovely guy.

It's very upsetting to us what happened to him. Even though he got sick at the beginning of the pandemic, this didn't have to be. If President Trump had heeded the warnings he was being given — if he and his administration believed in science, fact and telling the truth — this might never have happened; the way Trump has handled this crisis has been appalling and surreal.

And people who are still running around without masks should remember that being young and healthy does not mean you're immune from this virus — Nick was both — and besides, you can spread it to others who aren't young and healthy. Nobody deserves to have to go through what Nick did.

One of the highlights of our show was when he sang "One of the Great Ones." There's no better way to describe Nick. Our hearts go out to his wife, Amanda, and his son, Elvis, and we hope people will support the GoFundMe page that has been set up to help them through this terrible time.

This story first appeared in the July 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.